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Robertson

 

Family Ancestors

 

 

Family History

Origins of

the Surname

Variations of

the Surname

Armorial Bearings

& Motto(es)

Ancestral Lineage

Researching

by Location

Migrations of the

American Family

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Family history

Robertson

 

Family History

        This Robertson lineage has been traced back to our 8th great-grandfather Robert Robertson   born circa 1659 at Glasgow, then in Lanarkshire, Scotland.   Robert married a Mary Berry sometime around 1683.  Four known children were produced of this union between 1684 and 1692.  It is probable that Robert lived his entire life in Scotland.  It is not known when he died. 

     James Robertson, son of Robert and Mary, was born circa 1685 at Glasgow.  He likely left Scotland as a young man and migrated to that area of the “Ulster Plantation” now known as County Londonderry.  He eventually settled in the town of Coleraine located near the border with County Antrim, Northern Ireland.  Here he met and married Rebecca Royston, a native of Coleraine, around 1711.  James is recognized as the progenitor of this family line in America.   Based upon currently known information it is likely that James Robertson brought his family to America sometime between 1720 and 1740.  Records do show a James Robertson as landing in the Colony of Virginia in 1738.   After his arrival in the “New World” James followed many other Scots-Irish pioneers west to Augusta County, Virginia.   He eventually settled near Staunton located in the Shenandoah Valley of western Virginia in the midst of the Blue Ridge Mountains of the Appalachian Mountain chain.  James passed away in 1749 at the age of 63 years.

         William Robertson, son of the aforementioned James and Rebecca, was born near Coleraine, Northern Ireland, in 1720.   He accompanied his family on the ocean voyage to America as well as the journey west to Augusta County.  Here he met and married Lettica Kerr, daughter of James and Martha Kerr.  William and Lettica continued to live in Augusta County where they raised a large family of at least 12 children.  William lived a long life and left numerous descendents.  He died in Augusta county at the age of 92 years.

     Our lineage continues through Elizabeth Robertson, daughter of William and Lettica.  Elizabeth, our 5th great-grandmother, was born 1761 Augusta County.  In 1785 she married Robert Douglass also of Augusta County.  A few years later, in 1787, Elizabeth, Robert and their young family moved from Augusta County, to the upper part of East Tennessee.  Elizabeth bore at least eight known children of which her son John Douglass is our 4th great-grandfather.  By 1822 she and Robert had settled in McMinn County, Tennessee where she died in 1838.

 

Origins of the surname

Robertson

Origins of the Surname

An Introduction

to the Surname

Source/Meaning

of the Surname

History of

the Surname

More About Surnames

 

An Introduction to the Surname

                 The practice of inherited family surnames began in England and France during the late part of the 11th century.     With the passing of generations and the movement of families from place to place many of the original identifying names were altered into some of the versions that we are familiar with today.  Over the centuries, most of our European ancestors accepted their surname as an unchangeable part of their lives.  Thus people rarely changed their surname.  Variations of most surnames were usually the result of an involuntary act such as when a government official wrote a name phonetically or made an error in transcription.  Research into the record of this Robertson family line indicates that the variations, meanings and history of this surname is most likely linked to that area of Europe where English, and Scottish linguistic traditions are commonly found. 

 

 

Source(s) & Meaning(s) of the Surname

          Most modern family names are a means conveying lineage.  For the most part, Anglo-Saxon surnames were developed from the following major sources: (1) patronym or matronym, names based on the name of one's father, mother or ancestor, (Johnson, Wilson); (2) occupation (i.e., Carpenter, Cooper, Brewer, Mason); (3) habitational or locational (Middleton, Sidney, or Ireland); (4) topographical (i.e. Hill, Brook, Forrest, Dale); (5) nicknames (i.e., Moody Freeholder, Wise, Armstrong);  (6) status (i.e. Freeman, Bond, Knight); and (7) acquired ornamental names that were simply made up.

     The surname of Robertson was a baptismal name 'the son of Robert'.  It originated as a Scottish and northern English patronymic form of the male given name Rodbert or Robert, from the pre 7th century Germanic personal name "Hrodebert".   This was a compound of the elements "hrod", meaning renown and "berht", bright or famous.   In England pre-existing Anglo-Saxon name "Hreodbeorht" was eventually changed to Robert and was occasionally found before the Norman Conquest of 1066, but in the main it was introduced into England by the Normans and quickly became popular among all classes of society.  The name was also locational name from the ancient manor of the same name, now the parish of Roberton in Lanarkshire.

 

 

History of the Surname

     Surnames as we know them today were first assumed in Europe from the 11th to the 15th century. They were not in use in England or Scotland, before the Norman Conquest of 1066, and were first found in the Domesday Book of 1086. The employment in the use of a second name was a custom that was first introduced from the Normans who had adopted the custom just prior to this time.    Soon thereafter it became a mark of a generally higher socio-economic status and thus seen as disgraceful for a well-bred man to have only one name.  It was not until the middle of the 14th century that surnames became general practice among all people in the British Isles.

     The Robertson name was first found in Perthshire, Scotland were they were seated from early times and their first records appeared on the early census rolls taken by the early Kings of Scotland to determine the rate of taxation of their subjects.  This well-known surname, has at least forty entries in the "Dictionary of National Biography" and twenty-four coats-of-arms listed in Burke’s General Armorie (1864).    The Robertson surname is especially common in Scotland, where Robert was a popular personal name and the name of three kings of Scotland, including Robert the Bruce (1274–1329). Robert is found in English, French, German, Dutch, Hungarian (Róbert), etc.  Legend has it, that the patronymic Robertson was adopted by a Scottish family, after King Robert the Bruce of Scotland in circa 1306, said that he regarded them as his children.

     The first recorded spelling of the family name is shown to be that of William Robertsone. This was dated 1327, in the "Subsidy Rolls of Derbyshire".  The earliest record of the name in Scotland was William Robertson, a Scot going abroad, who was given English letters of protection in 1371.   Other early records show Mauricius filius Roberti who was recorded in 1399 Aberdeen documents, and  Thomas Robertson, a merchant Scot, who had a safe conduct to travel to England in 1444.

       One of the most famous persons having this surname is Alexander Robertson (1670 - 1749), thirteenth Baron of Struan, who became chief of the Clan Robertson in 1688.  There are two main theories as to the origins of the Clan Robertson: (1) that the founder of the clan, Donn(a)chadh (Duncan) was the second son of Angus MacDonald, Lord of the Isles; and (2) that the Robertsons are lineal descendants of the Celtic Earls of Atholl, whose progenitor was King Duncan I (Donnchadh in Scottish Gaelic), eldest son of Malcolm II.

     Other famous persons having the Robertson surname are: (1) Field Marshal Sir William Robert Robertson, 1st Baronet, GCB, GCMG, GCVO, DSO (29 January 1860 – 12 February 1933) was a British officer who served as Chief of the Imperial General Staff (CIGS) from 1916 to 1918 during the First World War. He was the first British Army soldier to rise from private soldier to field marshal; (2) Peter Lymburner Robertson (1879–1951) was a Canadian inventor of the square-drive Robertson screw, first produced in his Milton, Ontario factory in 1908; (3) James Robertson (June 28, 1742 – September 1, 1814) was a North Carolina farmer and explorer of the 18th century. He was born in Brunswick County, Virginia, of Scotch-Irish descent. Around 1750, his father relocated to Wake County, North Carolina. He worked on his father's farm and had no formal education; and (4) Jerome Bonaparte Robertson (March 14, 1815 – January 7, 1890) was a doctor, Indian fighter, Texas politician, and a general in the Confederate States Army during the American Civil War. He was noted for his service in the famed Texas Brigade in the Army of Northern Virginia.

          Today about 589 persons per million in the United States have the Robertson surname.  The heaviest concentration of the name in the world is found in New Zealand.  In the United Kingdom almost 1,274 persons per million have the Robertson surname.    The most significant clustering of the name is found in the Scotland.

 

 

More About Surname Meanings & Origins

English Surnames

Although the Domesday Book compiled by William the Conqueror required surnames, the use of them in the British Isles did not become fixed until the time period between 1250 and 1450.  The broad range of ethnic and linguistic roots for British surnames reflects the history of Britain as an oft-invaded land. These roots include, but are not limited to, Old English, Middle English, Old French, Old Norse, Irish, Gaelic, Celtic, Pictish, Welsh, Gaulish, Germanic, Latin, Greek and Hebrew.  Throughout the British Isles, there are basically five types of native surnames. Some surnames were derived from a man's occupation (Carpenter, Taylor, Brewer, Mason), a practice that was commonplace by the end of the 14th century.  Place names reflected a location of residence and were also commonly used (Hill, Brook, Forrest, Dale) as a basis for the surname, for reasons that can be easily understood.  Nicknames that stuck also became surnames.  About one-third of all surnames in the United Kingdom are patronymic in origin, and identified the first bearer of the name by his father (or grandfather in the case of some Irish names). When the coast of England was invaded by William The Conqueror in the year 1066, the Normans brought with them a store of French personal names, which soon, more or less, entirely replaced the traditional more varied Old English personal names, at least among the upper and middle classes. A century of so later, given names of the principal saints of the Christian church began to be used. It is from these two types of given name that the majority of the English patronymic surnames are derived and used to this day.  Acquired ornamental names were simply made up, and had no specific reflection on the first who bore the name. They simply sounded nice, or were made up as a means of identification, generally much later than most surnames were adopted.  Source: http://www.obcgs.com/LASTNAMES.htm

Variations of the surname

Robertson

Variations of
the Surname

 

Throughout the centuries, surnames in every country have continued to unfold and expand often leading to an overwhelming number of variants.  As such one can encounter great variation in the spelling of surnames because in early times, spelling in general and thus the spelling of names was not yet standardized.  Later on spellings would change with the branching and movement of families.  Spelling variations of this family name include: Robertson, Roberts, Robarts, Robeson, and many others.    

 

The complexity of researching records is compounded by the fact that in many cases an ancestors surname may also have been misspelled.  This is especially true when searching census documents.   The Soundex Indexing System was developed in an effort to assist with identifying spelling variations for a given surname.  Soundex is a method of indexing names in the 1880, 1900, 1910, and 1920 US Census, and can aid genealogists in their research.  The Soundex Code for Robertson is R163.  Other surnames sharing this Soundex Code:  RAFFERTY | RAIFORD | REPPERT | RIVARD | ROBARDS | ROBERDS | ROBERT | ROBERTS | ROBERTSON | RUBERT | RUPERT | RUPPERT |.

 

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Coat of arms

Robertson

Armorial Bearings & Motto(es)

In the Middle Ages heraldry came into use as a practical matter. It originated in the devices used to distinguish the armored warriors in tournament and war, and was also placed on seals as marks of identity. As far as records show, true heraldry began in the middle of the 12th century, and appeared almost simultaneously in several countries of Western Europe.  In the British Isles the College of Arms (founded in 1483) is the Royal corporation of heralds who record proved pedigrees and grant armorial bearings.

Fig. 1

Fig. 2

ARMORIAL BEARINGS

& CLAN INSIGNIAS

There are at about 25 associated armorial bearings for Robertson and close variant spellings recorded in Reitstap’s Armorial General or Sir Bernard Burke’s General Armory. The following additional information has been found regarding the coats-of-arms shown at the left:

FIGURE 1: A red shield with three silver wolves' heads, the crest features a dexter (right) hand erect, holding an imperial crown.  This is the oldest known Robertson coat-of-arms originally granted by King James II of Scotland to Duncan, son of Robert, Chief of the Clan, for having with great courage and intrepidity apprehended the murderers of James I.  These armorial bearings have descended to Alexander Gilbert Haldane Robertson of Struan, 24th Chief of Clan Donnachaidh (Clan Robertson) who resides at Strowan (Struan), in Perthshire, Scotland.

FIGURE 2: This coat-of-arms is attributed to a Robertson of Boston in Lincolnshire, England and a Robertson of Deisaprice of the same county.   The shield is green with a gold chevron containing three red stars between three golden bucks. The crest features a golden stag.

FIGURE 3: This example of the Robertson clan badge highlights the clan crest of a dexter hand holding up an imperial crown proper.  

FIGURE 4: The "Clandonoquhay" tartan, as published in 1842 in the Vestiarium Scoticum.

FIGURE 5: example of the ancient hunting tartan of Clan Donnachaidh (Clan Robertson);

FIGURE 6: example of the red modern day tartan of Clan Donnachaidh (Clan Robertson);

 

MOTTO(ES)

The following listed mottoes and their translations are attributed to Robertson:

Motto

Translation

Dinna waken sleeping dogs

Dinna waken sleeping dogs

Gloria virtutis merces

Glory is the reward of virtue

Intemerata fides

Faith undefiled

Perseveranti dabitur

It will be given to the persevering

Post funera virtus

Virtue survives death

Quœque favilla micat

Every ember shines

Ramis micat radix

The root glitters in its branches

Recte faciendo neminem timeas

In acting justly fear no one

Robore et sapientia

By strength and wisdom

Virtutis gloria merces

Glory is the reward of valour

Ductus, non coatus

Led, not forced

Fig. 3

 

Fig. 4

 

Fig. 5

Fig. 6

 

A Coat of Arms is defined as a group of emblems and figures (heraldic bearings) usually arranged on and around a shield and serving as the special insignia of some person, family, or institution.  Except for a few cases, there is really no such thing as a standard "coat of arms" for a surname.  A coat of arms, more properly called an armorial achievement, armorial bearings or often just arms for short, is a design usually granted only to a single person not to an entire family or to a particular surname.  Coats of arms are inheritable property, and they generally descend to male lineal descendents of the original arms grantee.  The rules and traditions regarding Coats of Arms vary from country to country. Therefore a Coat of Arms for an English family would differ from that of a German family even when the surname is the same.  The art of designing, displaying, describing, and recording arms is called heraldry. The use of coats of arms by countries, states, provinces, towns and villages is called civic heraldry.   Some of the more prominent elements incorporated into a  coat of arms are :

Crest - The word crest is often mistakenly applied to a coat of arms.  The crest was a later development arising from the love of pageantry.  Initially the crest consisted of charges painted onto a ridge on top of the helmet.

Wreath or TorseThe torse is a twist of cloth or wreath underneath and part of a crest. Always shown as six twists, the first tincture being the tincture of the field, the second the tincture of the metal, and so on.

Mantling – The mantling is a drapery tied to the helmet above the shield. It forms a backdrop for the shield.

Helm or Helmet - The helmet or helm is situated above the shield and bears the torse and crest. The style of helmet displayed varies according to rank and social status, and these styles developed over time, in step with the development of actual military helmets.

Shield or Arms - The basis of all coats of arms.  At their simplest, arms consist of a shield with a plain field on which appears a geometrical shape or object.  The items appearing on the shield are known as charges.

Motto - The motto was originally a war cry, but later mottoes often expressed some worthy sentiment. It may appear at the top or bottom of a family coat of arms.

Direct ancestors

Robertson

Ancestral Lineage

Descendant Register

Generation 1

 

Robert Robertson-1 was born on Abt. 1659 in Glasgow, Lanarkshire, Scotland. He married Mary Berry on Abt. 1683 in Glasgow, Lanarkshire, Scotland?. She was born on 1663 in Glasgow, Lanarkshire, Scotland.

 

Children of Robert Robertson and Mary Berry are:

i.         John Robertson, B: 31 Aug 1684 in Glasgow, Lanarkshire, Scotland.

2.            ii.     James Robertson, B: 01 Oct 1685 in Glasgow, Lanarkshire, Scotland, D: 17 May  1749 in Augusta County, Virginia, M: Abt. 1711 in Londonderry, Northern Ireland  ?.

iii.          Mary Robertson, B: Abt. 1689 in Glasgow, Lanarkshire, Scotland, M: 16 Dec 1719 in Govan, Lanarkshire, Scotland.

iv.          Isobell Robertson, B: 21 Jan 1692 in Glasgow, Lanarkshire, Scotland.

 

Generation 2

 

James Robertson-2(Robert Robertson-1) was born on 01 Oct 1685 in Glasgow, Lanarkshire, Scotland. He died on 17 May 1749 in Augusta County, Virginia. He married Rebecca Royston Abt. 1711 in Londonderry, Northern Ireland?, daughter of George Royston and Rebeckha Cullin.  She was born in Coleraine, Londonderry, Northern Ireland. She died on Abt. 1773 in Albemarle County, Virginia.

 

Children of James Robertson and Rebecca Royston are:

i.              John Robertson, B: Abt. 1712 in Londonderry, N. Ireland??, D: Bef. 06 Aug 1771.

ii.             Matthew Robertson, B: Abt. 1713 in Londonderry, N. Ireland??, D: Abt. 1786 in  Augusta County, Virginia.

iii.           James Robertson, B: Abt. 1716 in Coleraine, Antrim, Northern Ireland, D: 1754, M: 1739.

iv.           Elizabeth Robertson, B: Abt. 1718 in Londonderry, N. Ireland??.

3.             v.      William Robertson, B: 05 Feb 1720 in Coleraine, Londonderry, N. Ireland, D: 17  Oct 1812 in Staunton, Augusta Co., Virginia, M: 14 Jan 1749 in Augusta County,  Virginia.

 

Generation 3

 

William Robertson-3(James Robertson-2, Robert Robertson-1) was born on 05 Feb 1720 in Coleraine, Londonderry, N. Ireland. He died on 17 Oct 1812 in Staunton, Augusta Co., Virginia.  He married Lettica Kerr on 14 Jan 1749 in Augusta County, Virginia, daughter of James Kerr and Martha Ball. She was born on 07 Jan 1724 in Donegal Twp., Lancaster Co., Pennsylvania. She died on 15 Jul 1773 in Staunton, Augusta Co., Virginia.

 

Children of William Robertson and Lettica Kerr are:

4.            i.         Mary Robertson, M: 03 Apr 1798 in Augusta County, Virginia.

5.             ii.        Alexander Robertson.

iii.          Ann Robertson.

iv.          James Robertson.

v.           Matthew Robertson, B: Abt. 1747.

vi.          Jane Robertson, B: 14 Sep 1750, D: 13 Nov 1823, M: Abt. 1770.

5.            vii.     Rebecca Robertson, B: Abt. 1752 in Augusta County, Virginia ?, D: Aft. 29 May 1808 in Blount County, Tennessee, M: Abt. 1770 in Augusta County, Virginia?.

viii.       Isabella Robertson, B: Abt. 1754, D: 1813, M: 26 Dec 1780 in Virginia.

6.        ix.        Sarah Robertson, B: Abt. 1760.

7.            x.      Elizabeth Robertson, B: 06 Apr 1761 in Staunton, Augusta Co., Virginia, D: Aug  1838 in Cog Hill, McMinn Co., Tennessee, M: 28 Dec 1784 in Staunton, Augusta  Co., Virginia.

xi.       Margaret Robertson, B: 31 Jul 1761, D: Abt. 1794, M: 04 Jul 1782.

8.            xii.      Lettica Robertson, B: Bef. 1775, D: Aft. 1820.

 

Generation 4

 

Elizabeth Robertson-4(William Robertson-3, James Robertson-2, Robert Robertson-1) was born on 06 Apr 1761 in Staunton, Augusta Co., Virginia. She died on Aug 1838 in Cog Hill, McMinn Co., Tennessee. She married Robert Douglass Jr. on 28 Dec 1784 in Staunton, Augusta Co., Virginia, son of Robert Douglass Sr. and Mary Cummings. He was born on 10 Mar 1758 in Staunton, Augusta Co., Virginia. He died on 10 Jul 1837 in Cog Hill, McMinn Co., Tennessee.

 

 

Children of Elizabeth Robertson and Robert Douglass Jr. are:

 

i.             William B. Douglass, B: 1784 in Augusta Co., Virginia, D: 1786 in Augusta Co., Virginia.

 

ii.            Elizabeth Douglass, B: Abt. 1786 in Augusta Co., Virginia, D: Abt. 1786 in Augusta Co., Virginia.

iii.          Mary Douglass, B: 11 Apr 1788 in Tennessee, M: Abt. 1820.

iv.          James S. Douglass, B: 09 Jun 1790 in Sevier County, Tennessee, D: 06 Apr 1861 in Winterset, Madison Co., Iowa, M: 25 Dec 1816 in Maryville (Blount Co.), Tennessee.

 

v.           John Douglass, B: 09 Mar 1793 in Sevier County, Tennessee, D: 07 Apr 1863 in Cog Hill, McMinn Co., Tennessee, M: 20 Feb 1817 in Pendleton District, South Carolina.

 

vi.          William Robertson Douglass, B: 24 Oct 1794 in Tennessee, D: 21 Aug 1864, M:  28 Aug 1827.

 

vii.         Letticia Douglass, B: 26 May 1800 in Tennessee, D: Aft. 1850 in Arkansas.

viii.       Matilda Douglass, B: 09 Sep 1803 in Tennessee.

 

Additional information about our DIRECT ANCESTORS  as well as a complete listing of individuals with this surname may be reviewed by clicking on the following LINK.

 

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that will likely improve your results. The different searches will give you many different ways of using Google and the Internet to find ancestry information about this or any other Surname. 

Ancestral locations

Robertson

 

Researching 
by Location

 

Researching the locations where our ancestors lived has provided us with valuable evidence needed to fill-in the gaps in our family trees.  It has also led us to many interesting facts that enhance the overall picture of each family group.

Locations of

Direct Ancestors

Locational Distribution

of  this Surname

Where In the World

are my Ancestors?

 

Locatiof Direct Ancestors

Locations of Our Direct Ancestors

The names of states and counties on the following list were derived from the known places where the Direct Ancestors in the “Ancestral Lineage” (see above) were born, married, and / or died.

COUNTRY

STATE

COUNTY / SUBDIVISION

UNITED KINGDOM

SCOTLAND

Lanarkshire

NORTHERN IRELAND

Londonderry

UNITED STATES

VIRGINIA

Augusta County

TENNESSEE

McMinn County

Use this LINK to find out more about the locations listed above.

ANCESTRAL LOCATIONS

Locational distributionstors

Locational Distribution of This Surname

     Knowing the geographical areas where the surname you are researching is clustered and distributed is an indispensable tool in deciding where to focus your research.  We believe that the “Public Profiler” website will open up to you a wide range of solutions which implement current research in spatial analysis.  This site provides an array of local spatial information tools useful to the genealogist.

          The information presented below shows where the Robertson surname is distributed within the United States as well as in the United Kingdom the country of origin of this family.  In addition is a listing of the top countries in the world where this surname is highly clustered. 

United States of America

Top Countries

European Country of Origin

Frequency Per Million Persons

New-Zealand

1835.81

Australia

1667.2

United Kingdom

1273.76

United States

589.38

Canada

401.14

Key

 

Key

Click on the LINK to the right to see more information about the World distribution of a surname.  You can

get greater detail for any of the following maps by clicking on the area, i.e state, county that you are interested in.

Wjere are my ancestors Ancestors

Where in the World
are My Ancestors?

Resources which enhance our knowledge of the places inhabited by our ancestors are almost as important as their names. The LINK to the right will take you to Maps, Gazetteers,   and  other  helpful   resources 

MAPS

GAZETTEERS

that will assist in discovering Ancestral Locations.  These web sites comprise only a small portion of what is available for researchers interested in learning more about where their ancestors lived.

Migration routes

Robertson

Migrations of the
American Family

       During the 17th, 18th and 19th centuries hundreds of thousands of Europeans made the perilous ocean voyage to America.  For many it was an escape from economic hardship and religious persecution.  For most it was an opportunity to start over, own their own land, and make a better future for their descendents.  Immigration records show a number of people bearing the name of Robertson, or one of its variants, as arriving in North America between the 17th and 20th centuries.  Some of these immigrants were: Nicholas Robertson, aged 30, was an early emigrant to America. He embarked from London on the ship "Blessing" bound for New England in June 1635. Daniel Robertson, who settled in Virginia in 1716; along with Francis, Isabella, James, John, and Donald; Alexander, Archibald, Charles, Daniel, Duncan, George, Henry, James, Jane, John, Robert, Thomas and William Robertston all arrived in Philadelphia between 1800 and 1870.

     Tracing our own family’s paths of migration can prove crucial in identifying previous generations and eventually, figuring out where and how they arrived in the “New World” as well as where they eventually settled.  Knowing the network of trails American pioneers traveled can help you guess where to start looking.  The trail map(s) provided below may assist you in understanding the routes that our direct ancestors of this family may have taken to find new homes and opportunities in the vast area now encompassed by the United States.

Use the following links to find more early immigrants with this surname:

$ Search Ancestry.com Immigration Records; or Free Ship’s Passenger lists at OliveTreeGenealogy.com

 

Migration to Augusta County, VA c. 1739

         Beginning in the late 1730’s Scots-Irish pioneers like the Robertson family began streaming into the Shenandoah Valley of Virginia as they were  encouraged by the Virginia colonial government to populate the valley for a very simple reason: the Scots-Irish men, women, and children would serve as a human buffer between the civilized areas of Virginia east of the Blue Ridge Mountains and the hostile French and Indian population beyond the Appalachian Mountains to the west in the Ohio River valley. Although we believe that James Robertson brought his family to America in 1737 we are not sure as to when or where he arrived.  The two best possibilities for places of arrival would have been Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, and the Colony of Virginia.   Either way the map below shows each of the most utilized travel routes to reach Augusta County, Virginia from the aforementioned places of arrival.

Route From Lancaster County, Pennsylvania

    Most of the early Scots-Irish settlers who settled in the Shenandoah Valley of Virginia came from southeastern Pennsylvania, primarily Lancaster County.  Thus it is quite possible that the Robertson family traveled to Augusta county from this location.  If so they probably joined the throngs of their contemporaries who would cross the Susquehanna River to journey west on the Great Wagon Road.  Eventually they would reach the north-south running “Great Warrior & Trading Path” near present day Chambersburg, Pennsylvania.  Here they would follow the trail south toward Virginia.  Crossing the Potomac River by Williams’ or Watkins Ferry, near the later site of Williamsport, Maryland they would follow the narrow footpath along the Shenandoah River.  This route would take them through occasional clearings in the forest of the Valley of Virginia, they would come after many days’ journey to a gap in an earlier trail, named Buffalo Gap.  They would end their journey seventeen miles southwest of the valley near a way station that would eventually grow into the town of Staunton, and later the county seat of Augusta county, Virginia.  In 1740 James Robertson purchased 385 acres of land in the southwestern section of Beverly Manor and settled his family on this property.

Route Across Virginia

              If the Robertson family came directly from Northern Ireland to the Colony of Virginia  they may have started their journey west from the vicinity of the fall line of the James River at the future site of Richmond.   The most common route taken from that point to the area of Augusta County was called Three Notch'd Road (aka Three Chopt Road). This route was a major east-west route across central Virginia during the colonial-era.  It is believed to have taken its name from a distinctive marking of three notches cut into trees to blaze the trail. By the 1730s, the trail extended westerly to the Shenandoah Valley, crossing the Blue Ridge Mountains at Jarmans Gap.  In modern times, a large portion of U.S. Route 250 in Virginia follows the historic path of the Three Notch'd Road, as does nearby Interstate 64.

 

Augusta County to McMinn County 1787-1822

          In 1784 Elizabeth Robertson our 5th great-grandmother Elizabeth Robertson, daughter of James and Lettica Robertson, married Robert Douglass, Jr.   In 1785, the Treaty of Dumplin Creek was concluded with the Cherokee at Henry's Station in Tennessee, by which the Indians relinquished their right and title to the land comprising Sevier County Tennessee.  After this treaty, the occupation of the land south of the French Broad River continued rapidly.   It is likely that the young couple had heard the news of open land in eastern Tennessee and were eager to go to this locale.  Elizabeth and Robert were probably typical of most Scotch-Irish Presbyterian settlers who were moving westward from Virginia and North Carolina. These settlers, for the most part, were a thrifty and energetic people looking for fertile land to farm, ample water supply, and abundant resources of lumber.

    In 1787, and Elizabeth and Robert relocated from Augusta County, Virginia to the upper part of East Tennessee.  This event occurred before the state of Tennessee was even formed.  The Robertson-Douglass family had come from the Virginia frontier, moving down mountain valleys into this new region as the Indians moved out, perhaps even at times before. They doubtless knew what they were about, and thought only of making their homes and a livelihood in such a land, with all the fearlessness and steadfastness of purpose that characterized these Scotch-Irish frontiersmen.

     There is little doubt that they left Augusta County along the now well established “Great Wagon Road.  Eighty-five miles south they would come to the settlement of “Big Lick” now known as the city of Roanoke, Virginia. At Roanoke they would follow the southwest fork of the road that would lead them into the upper New River Valley and on to the Holston River in the upper Tennessee Valley. 

     It may have taken them almost a month to travel the 325 miles to the area now known as Sevier County.  At this time this was an unorganized region until after the Treaty of Holston in 1791, and the subsequent organization of Jefferson County, Tennessee in July, 1792.  Sevier County as it is known today was formed on September 18, 1794 from part of Jefferson County.   It is unclear as to where or how long they resided here.  They may have moved on after Blount County was separated from Knox County by the Territorial Legislature in 1795.  Again it is It is unclear as to where or how long they resided in Blount County, although it is believed that they eventually left here as a result of the treaty with the Cherokee Indians in 1819 in which the Hiwassee District, was ceded to the United States, by the Cherokee.

     By 1822 the Robertson-Douglass family had arrived in the new eastern Tennessee county called McMinn.  The territory now included in McMinn County had formed a part of the aforementioned Hiwassee District.   The Douglass homestead was eventually located in the Conasauga Creek at present day Cog Hill, Tennessee.   This place lay near the site of the ancient Cherokee town of Conasauga, said to have been visited by DeSoto and his expedition, June 1, 1540.  To the northeast, of the homestead, along the south bank of the Little Tennessee River, were the early towns of the Overhill Cherokee, and the site of ill-fated Fort Loudon, which fell to besieging Cherokee in 1760, with subsequent massacre of its garrison.

 

 

 

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Source documents

Robertson

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The documents contained within the “Source Documents Archives” have been located during my research of this family, and used as evidence to prove many of the facts contained within the database of this family’s record.

 

     Most of these documents can be considered as primary or secondary evidence.  Primary evidence is usually defined as the best available to prove the fact in question, usually in an original document or record.  Secondary evidence is in essence all that evidence which is inferior in its origin to primary evidence. That does not mean secondary evidence is always in error, but there is a greater chance of error.  Examples of this type of evidence would be a copy of an original record, or oral testimony of a record’s contents.  Published genealogies and family histories are also secondary evidence.

     Classifying evidence as either primary or secondary does not tell anything about its accuracy or ultimate value.  This is especially true of secondary evidence.  Thus it is always a good idea to ask the following questions: (1) How far removed from the original is it, (when it is a copy)?; (2) What was the reason for the creation of the source which contains this evidence?; and (3) Who was responsible for creating this secondary evidence and what interest did they have in its accuracy?

SOURCE:  Greenwood, Val D., The Researcher’s Guide to American Genealogy, 2nd edition, Genealogical Publishing  Co., Baltimore, MD 21202, 1990, pgs. 62-63

 

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SOURCE DOCUMENTS

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Fred
889 Dante Ct.
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